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Work with a partner from the other group. Compare the communities, using your answers to exercise 4.




What do you think?

• Why do so many nationalities choose to live in London?

• Are there any groups of foreigners living in your town? Where do they come from? What do they find different? Do they mix with other groups, or keep themselves apart?

 

New York and Toronto may think they are more cosmopolitan, but London in the 21st century is certainly the most diverse city ever. This is one of the reasons why it was chosen to host the 2012 Olympic Games. More than 300 languages are spoken by the people of London, and it has 50 nationalities with populations of more than 10,000.

Why is this? Firstly, London is a place of business. Londoners have the fewest bank holidays in Europe and work the longest hours. People come for jobs and money. But that is not why they stay. Language is one reason. Fluency in English is a great gift for their children. Another surprising reason is the character of the London people. They are not as friendly as some other nationalities. But this has advantages - people leave you alone, and you are free to live your own life. Finally, the most delicious reason is - food. You can have dinner in more than 70 different nationalities of restaurant any night of the week. Londoners' enthusiasm for foreign food creates thousands of jobs for new communities.

River Thames

All Londoners, old and new, have the same principles. They work hard, love their children, and move out of the city center as soon as they can afford it!

Leo Benedictus spent months interviewing the immigrant communities

1 Posh Daddy from Nigeria

Posh Daddy is the manager of the Big Choice Barber's on Peckham High Street. It is a West Indian and African hairdresser's. These two black communities haven't always got on well together. 'When I first came here, we just wanted to be accepted by the West Indian community, but they weren't very friendly,' he says. 'Now it is getting better. These days most of my West Indian brothers in the barber's like eating African food like me, pepper soup and kukuрака, which is chicken with coconut - very hot and spicy.'

 

2 Staff in the kitchen of the Asadal

'This restaurant was a little bit of Korea brought into a very English town,' says Young-il Park, the manager of the Asadal restaurant in New Maiden. The Asadal is famous for its kimchi- salty, spicy chilli peppers and vegetables. Young- il's father opened the Asadal in 1991 - the first Korean restaurant in the town. Young-il was the only Korean in his school. The thing I noticed most was that people stared at me,' he says. 'Now you see a lot of Koreans here.'

 

3 YasarHalim, a Turkish grocer's and baker's, is known all over London. It was opened in Green Lanes in 1981 by MrHalim, a Turkish Cypriot. At that time, no one was selling food from his homeland. Now the shop is famous for its baklava, a sweet cake made with nuts and honey. The shop is very busy, and the staff working there - both Turkish and Greek Cypriots - look like they're having a great time together. In their homeland of Cyprus, there are still problems between the two communities.

But in this area of London, they live together as good neighbors.

 

4 Portuguese football fans in the FC Porto Fan Club in Stockwell

'Football is a passion for us,' says Jos6 Antonio Costa, the president of the Porto Fan Club which meets in Stockwell. 'Many people come for friendship - you know, in a foreign country, you feel more comfortable with your own people.'

3 The staff in the YasarHalim Bakery

Eric Santos, the owner of Santos's cafe near the club, says, 'People come for my wife's bacalhau - salted cod, made with potatoes and onions. Delicious!' There is quite a big Portuguese-speaking community here, from Portugal, Brazil and Madeira, but they do not always stick together. 'Everyone looks after their own interests.' The Portuguese and the Madeirans, in particular, are very separate groups in London, because Madeira wants independence from Portugal.


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